Friday, March 30, 2007

The CATalog

The title of this blog, nine cats, is merely a snapshot in time, not truly representative of the derangement that comes from having cats. Not just 1 or 2, but many, many felines, whose personalities and characters, while similar in a broad way, all add to the growing dementia of this owner. But "owner" is too generous; "fool" would be more appropriate.

So in the ever-growing need to relieve the pressure, the following is a compendium of every cat we've ever owned.

Pherinian (pronounced "Fer-rin-nian") - the first of the beasties, this precious orange kitten started his life as a wedding present to Michelle (the last time I ever gave a cat as a gift) and grew into a lazy fat thing, who ended up with a distain for his own offspring and a penchant for nuzzling Michelle's hair. He was a rather stupid animal, much like Fuzz,

Areai (pronounced "Air-ree-eye") - the other cat acquired right about the same time as Pherinian, this black and white wench typified everything that cats are; vindictive and evil. Her kittens became the source of division between her and Pherinian, causing us to give her, and them, away. The fact that sent her and the kittens away, and not Pherinian, tells you something about her wicked disposition. Areai nearly clawed up a 3 month old Ashley in one her fits against the other cat. At that moment, she forfeited our home for the pound.

Martin - this was a cute, fuzzy, gray thing whose life nearly ended when he mistook our waterbed for a litter box at 3am. The smell woke me up, which was bad enough, but when I put my hand in warm diarrhea, I knew that he could not stay. I can still remember when we turned on the light to see him pitifully meowing, covered in his own feces. I don't remember where we got him and I don't remember where he went. But he went. It was with Martin that the "cute kitten" syndrome was broken in me.

Sparkles - this cat was acquired from a fellow I worked with in the Navy and had a disposition to match. He was jittery, nervous, and looked as though he had beaten more often than was good for him. Sparkles was the same way. Ashley called him "Frarkles", and used to grind her teeth in seeming approval. The cat could care less, avoiding us most of the time, showing up meal times and making a home underneath the furniture. This animal actually lived in my father's house for a time, which is amazing if you don't know my father, and since we could not take him to the duplex, he stayed with them. He was the ideal cat - you hardly knew he was there.

Allie (aka Socks) - this cat was also a co-worker acquisition, another sob story to the gullible. She ended up getting out of the house and fornicating with every male cat in a 10 house radius, proof of which was the fact that her kittens looked so different. Shortly after delivering Tubby, Shadow, Barry, Spaz, and Skunk-Girl, she was mauled by a neighbor's dog. Live hard, die young. The 5 kittens became 3, as the girls were given away. Tubby you already know about. Shadow was the quiet calculating type, not overly loveable but not a hater, and Barry, an affectionate polydactyl beast who ended up a family favorite. Both were actually pretty good cats…until Tugger.

Tugger came to us by way of friend who was moving out of state and asked us to keep his cats until he got settled. The other cat was Isis, formerly known as Skunk-Girl, so named for the weird arrangement of black and white color on her muzzle. Tugger was quite large (though with a ridiculously short tail) and quite the bully. Eventually, Barry and Shadow ran away, which we guess was from Tugger's jerk-like behavior.

In the meantime, we acquired Calvin, a beautiful Angora-looking cat, pristine white, long-haired, one blue eye, one green eye. Tugger took him in as his own kitten, and he seemed quite normal. But as Calvin grew older, he became more and more skitterish (more so after Tugger was sent home and Iris was run over), to the point where even walking in the same room caused him to go into trembling fits of panic. He never got over this, though he did unwind a little at a new owners house, a much quieter place.

Sometime amidst all this chaos, two things happened. First, a next door neighbor brought us one stray kitten they found under their porch, in the knowledge that our house had become a cat farm, and the owners of said farm were crazy as loons. This cat, Pickles, who also turned out to be quite the hussy, ended up pregnant with 6 kittens, all of whom were given away except Socks, whom you already know.

The second thing that happened was that good friends of ours, who were also cat magnets (and stray dogs), packed up and went to the mission field, and asked us to take care of their remaining two beasties that couldn't travel with them. The first was Bonzee, an old cantankerous creature, whose ill disposition was only matched by her appearance. She looked like something the cat had dragged in, and was a horror to the other cats. Or rather, she was a horror to them. The other was Sugar, a petite female, much like Boo, except that as loveable as she was to humans, she was equally hated by the other cats. And I am not exaggerating when I say she was loathed by the other cats. She was chased, cornered, hissed at, swatted at, and driven to destroy every knick-knack, plant, lamp, or any other object not tied, glued, or otherwise permanently affixed to the top of the piano, bookcases, end-tables, or kitchen counter. She was the eye of the storm, the center to which all cat wrath was directed. And she made it difficult to like her since she caused so much ire in the others. Perhaps she was really possessed and the cats knew it. I like to think she was the normal one, the rest being possessed.

And how could I forget Tiger…the original stupid cat. This is the moron that ran into trees, in plain daylight. Who slept in the presence of invading rodents, who used affection to get his way, who chased and bullied the other cats constantly. We ended giving him away as well.

The above 6 kittens, including Socks, all had names, though their names escape me at the moment. After all of this, we got Boo, who produced the brothers, and the rest you know. If you count these beasts up, we're close to 40 cats in just less than 20 years.

If this is not insanity, I don't know what is.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Boo versus the refrigerator

Thursday morning started off quite routine. The jolt of the alarm clock, the slow and steady progress towards consciousness, the regular hygiene schedule, and of course, looking out for the path of inevitable feline destruction whilst they were unsupervised for 7 hours. Of course, even while supervised they are quite destructive. But you already know that. Anyway, I made it to the "kitchen" stage of my morning, wherein after my shower, I proceed to make a pot of coffee and perhaps clean up any mess left by human or non-human inhabitants, signs of which both had occurred. The dishes were not completely done, and much to my chagrin, the last two home-made muffins (and the ziplock bag that contained them) had been thoroughly decimated by Boo. Of course, I don't have hard evidence it was her, but being a presuppositionalist myself, I am confident that she took advantage of someone's oversight of leaving these out in plain view.

Musing on the fact that any bread left out on the counter will look like the remains of an unfortunately slow gazelle on the Serengeti, I noticed that Boo was playing with something on the kitchen floor. Now before continuing, a brief, ranting interlude is in order once again. Having previously concluded that a "clean" cat is a contradiction in terms, I offer that the proposition that a "smart" cat is equally false. Cat owners love to proclaim their pets intelligence and ingenuity, much because of their ability to entertain themselves. Dogs, this wisdom asserts, are stupid because they require someone to throw them a ball or frisbee in order to amuse themselves. However, watching a cat toss an inanimate object around as it were really alive flies in the face of this supposed wisdom. At least dogs understand that a ball does not move on its own accord, requiring that human input. In fact, this is a sign of great wisdom and insight, since dogs are quite eager to please, and play, at all times. They are true pets, companions for whom service is a joyful calling. Not so with cats; they are capricious and wicked, feigning great affection when what they really want is to be fed or let out the back door. Cats will even play with small dead animals in a mock resurrection, as it were, in their play. A dog will maul something and then go sleep it off, like a soldier. Remember, it is not an accident that the truly evil character in the children's movie Babe was in fact a cat.

But I digress. I'm in the midst of musing and notice that Boo is doing the afforementioned stupid cat behavior. What I do not notice is that this object, whatever it is, slips under the refrigerator. The animation of the dead object is only half the fun for these creatures…getting it stuck behind something, something almost inaccessible, is truly pleasurable for them. (Stick your finger underneath a closed door with a cat on the other side and you'll know what I mean.) Quite suddenly, while Boo is trashing around the bottom of the fridge, I notice that she's growling. My first instinct, granted I was only about 85% awake, was that she had gotten hold of something alive. My first thought was…kudos to the mouse for surviving my house for more than 30 seconds. But the noise continued to grow. That low, blood-curdling throat sound that a cat makes when it is cornered by a much larger opponent and can't run. The sound of terror in a cat, the sound of an inevitable fight, the sound of…her paw getting stuck in the frame. That's right, in the ecstasy of pure cat genius, she got her paw caught in the metal frame of the fridge. It took me a minute to realize what had happened. And I had to laugh, out loud, at the incredible spectacle before me. Here was the most graceful of our fuzzy population, thrashing about like a fish out of water, caught in the maws of a non-moving, modern appliance.

The growl had grown to that high-pitched whine often heard during an actual cat fight, and I had begun to feel bad (just a little). Turning towards her to help release the paw, her frenzied movements gave me pause; the claws extended in full battle-mode, the back arched, the eyes as big as saucers. Even here, in my nominally noble motive to help, she would have ripped me up had I tried. Needless to say, something broke loose, and she tore down the hallway no doubt to find a quiet and dark corner in which to lick herself (a standard cat response to a life-threatening terror 5 seconds earlier) and contemplate the horror in the kitchen.

But here's hoping she'll forget soon. I'd love to see that one again.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A one year hiatus in reporting does not end the madness

In the immortal words of somebody, reports of this blog's death were greatly exaggerated. Updates may not come very quickly, but the insanity of household cats continues unabated, like a forced death-march for the tired and weary. Prisoners may despair of life, but the only relief in sight is the grave. All of my feline angst has compelled me to do writing therapy, and so communicate the horrors of the past year.

In general, they are the same uncouth creatures that lived in my house a year ago. Puke on the floor, cat hair adorning every exposed surface, random dingleberrys discarded in the corners, the doorframes still looking like modern art. Yes, same feline population, same issues, different year. They still are costing me money and economically, I fail to see the investment potential. One cat is an investment, two is a real estate venture on the Florida coast, and three is a used car purchase. Anything more than four is a bankruptcy and IRS audit waiting to happen. Perhaps it is my own patience, but it would seem that they getting more annoying, as maturity is solidifying their already obnoxious habits into full-blown character traits. Let's take a look at all of them, one at a time. Welcome to my autopsy.

Fuzz is still stupid and with the demise of Tubby, is definitely the house favorite. His ignorance knows no bounds, though he is fundamentally unchanged. His penchant for "love" still is inopportune but no one but me seems to notice. He was sick earlier this year, which for some reason caused him to urinate in the bathtub regularly. He is all better, but while dealing with this it occurred to me that cats are really big frauds. Let me explain.

Cats are known for being fastidiously clean, licking every part of their body at any of time of day, certainly saving their nether regions for dinner guests, birthday parties, and other photo opportunities. However, in my years of cat ownership, I have never seen one of them vacuum the floor, or wipe down a counter, or brush dander off the couch, or clean up the avalanche of clothes, books, or knick-knacks they themselves are the cause of. They don't even clean out their own catbox, which is particularly grievous given the fact of indoor plumbing. Of course, puke doesn't sit long on the floor, depending on what it was originally and whether the other cats have eaten recently. Other than that, I'm not sure why we consider them "clean". If I took a shower every day and lived in a dumpster, it's doubtful many would praise my wholesomeness.

Regarding solidification of character, Pooky definitely takes top prize. Since it is popular with our government to consider foreign (and domestic) irritants to their own policies as "terrorists", it would not be inappropriate to refer to "Pooks" as the terrorist of our house. He still sucks necks, he still runs through the house like a raving madman, and he still attacks every other cat randomly and seemingly without provocation. The only difference now is that he is twice the size. In the past year, not only has he achieved full frame size, he now has the bulk that makes him the largest cat we own. And he knows how to push his weight around, literally. His sisters (Chubbs and Claws) still put up with the neck sucking thing, and this is particularly horrendous when they go into heat.

Because of financial priorities, these ladies have not been fixed, so when they go into heat, it’s a quite a sight for the uninitiated. Most the cats ignore them, as their own..(ahem)..reasons.. for wanting to consummate such passions have been surgically removed. To be sure, Pooky definitely falls into the eunuch category, yet he still insists on foolishly going through the motions. As you would expect, this generates all sorts of comments from the human beings in our house, and all I can say is that it’s a good thing my children understand what sex is. It is very obvious Pooky does not.

Socks is still the Wench, though she is finally settling into an old and cantankerous category of feline that I loathe. Her habit of staying by the door for hours, being let outside only to demand re-entry within 2 minutes is just as powerful as ever. She has all but stopped hunting and spends her days sleeping on the couch (muttering and groaning throughout, no doubt dreaming of chasing that elusive mouse or bird). The couch is her new favorite place because I think everyone in the house has kicked her off their bed, plus she can't stand the other cats who have staked out mattress territory already. Unfortunately, Socks has also become a favorite target of Pooky who so enjoys chasing her. That is, until I start chasing him and he retreats to under the bed. I like the idea of Socks being tormented, but not in the house, since they usually leave a wake of destruction in their midst.

Oatmeal (the Oat) and Trouble (Baby Bubba Dooba or just Bubba), aka as "The Brothers", are elusive, shy, and mostly stay away from the house, except to eat. Which suits me just fine. They spend more time indoors during the cooler weather, but since we're having a Havana Christmas (70 F during the days for the last 2 days), they move in and out, quietly and mostly unnoticed. By me that is. My wife gets a panic if they're not around, when I have the opposite problem. All eight in the house makes me panicked.

The sisters (the above mentioned hussies) have grown much fatter and are quickly developing into that ill-tempered feline of the sort that no cat owner would be complete without. When not rolling on the floor in estrogen ecstasy, or rump-up and whining, looking for partners in unbridled fornication, they manage to hiss, snort, and look mightily self-assured in their attitude, which I define as a feline funk. They don't like anybody, except when in heat, where they like anything breathing. It really makes me nervous when they focus their attention on me, but fortunately this is not often, as theirs is probably the most finely tuned Jeff-radar of the bunch. Give this a guy a wide berth, they silently say. And yes lady cats..I am the enemy.

Last but not least is the unchanged Boo, who remains as afraid of her shadow as ever. Still known as the Puker, she holds down less than 50% of what she eats. She is getting better about deposits on the kitchen floor rather than the living room or hallway, where yet another stain can be immortalized. The only really annoying thing about this cat that I've noticed lately is that she will survey her domestic domain with her tongue barely sticking out. Imagine a petite black cat, elegant and haughty, with a bit of pink tongue sticking out. She looks mentally deficient, but then again, referring to a cat, I repeat myself.

Much more could be said, but my head hurts thinking about these beasts. If you happen to be the neighborhood, stop by. I have a warm, purring Christmas gift for you.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


If there is one name in our house that strikes both adoration and loathing at the same time, it’s going to be “Pooky”. Pooky is a killing machine and a hopelessly needful animal at the same time. He is close to what I consider to be the perfect weapon in the feline universe; loved by all, yet the destroyer of sanity. Perhaps a little background will help.

(Also please note the photo here - I was ready to get up, Pooky was just getting comfortable. And also notice the disdain of Socks...)

Pooky, along with his two sisters, were rescued (more or less) from a house in our neighborhood who was doing a less than stellar job at taking care of their cats. The mother and father were practically wild, and the kittens lived in a box on the front porch, infested with fleas and filth. After the owners moved out, we took these orphans in, and they were pitiful. Pooky was hideously small, a melon of a head stuck on his scrawny and undernourished body. Feedings had to be done with milk formula initially because we didn’t want the mother cat in the house. Eventually they moved to solid food, though it took Pooky some time. Feedings were...well, nasty. Michelle would put milk and wet cat food mushed up on a plate, set on the floor. The kittens would devour the food, but Pooky, not content merely to eat, had to actually settle himself in the food. Every meal was followed by a bath. Disgusting to say the least.

This carried on for several months and we were beginning to think that he would stay a runt. But no. He ate, and ate, and ate, and ate. Soon he passed up his sisters in size and despite his only being 8 months old, he is approaching the size of the other adult cats in the house. Feeding time is still a treat, as he usually butts the other cats out of the way for the first available bowl, and has shown no fear while we are eating dinner ourselves. You see, the other cats generally avoid the dinner table and kitchen while we’re eating dinner. They know their place. Yes, if something is left out they will investigate but 9 times out of 10, all it takes is a single look to scatter them from the carnage. Not so with Pooky. This cat has the audacity to try and steal your dinner while you’re eating it. Repeated beatings have not helped. The trashcan is not safe. An open coke on the counter will be soon be on its side. This animal has even helped himself to our vitamins, which I laid out for the kids in the morning. He might die young under my wrath, but the fish oil pills he ate will make his coat look great at the funeral.

He also has a particularly annoying habit of moving the water bowl before taking a drink. This is really fun when wearing socks, since your feet are nice and soggy the rest of the day. I have actually had contests with him, where I will shoo him out the kitchen when moving the water bowl, which will carefully be put back in its place. He will then creep cautiously back in, lay in front of the bowl and start moving it again. Water spills on the floor, again, and wet socks, and well, you get the picture. Recently, I’ve been putting a towel under the water bowl, to no avail, and my next solution is to velcro to it the floor. Try to move that you vampire.

Speaking of vampires, he also has another annoying traits, this time affecting the other cats; he likes to suck on necks. Now at first, we thought he was trying to mate with one of his sisters. After having his, uh, reasons for wanting to mate removed, we found he continued this bizarre behavior with not only his sister, but with Fuzz. Now unlike his sister, Fuzz was not receptive to this action. In fact, it has made him downright hostile towards Pooky. Does this stop Pooky? Of course not. It is actually quite amusing to watch this smaller cat attack Fuzz, and actually keep him defensive. In truth, Pooky tries to do this to several of the older cats, which only invoke hissing and general ill-will. Like I said earlier, loved and hated at the same time.

He also several other annoying habits. The first of which is to find his way to any available hand for scratching; he is one of the most needful cats we’ve ever owned. Imagine you’re reading a book, watching TV, or just merely resting from the day’s labors. This cat will make his way into your lap, whether or not it is occupied or not, and will proceed to shove his head and body underneath your hands, whether they are holding something or not. If it’s food or drink, you’ll be wearing it. If it’s the TV remote or a book, well, they will simply have to move out of the way for his highness, or become an instrument of self-imposed feline rubbing. But I have not mentioned his favorite time to gratify his feline desires; either right when you’re falling asleep or about 3:30am when you’re already deeply engaged in sleep. For Pooky, your time is his time and he has no problem letting you know this. Not only that, he will crawl under the covers to find your hand if you don’t oblige him when he’s in the mood. It’s a terrible habit for such a young cat and I can only imagine what a tyrant he’ll be when older. That is, if I let him live that long.

He also likes to wrap himself around the coffee table legs and scratch like for all it’s worth. And it must be very worthy since the coffee table legs now look like every doorframe in my house. I suppose it just adds to the décor I’ve grown used to. He is also part of the feline NASCAR team, speeding through the house at horrific speeds at all hours of the day, moving from flat sprawled-out to after-burner in less than 5 seconds. I believe the experts call this the “evening crazies”; I call it insanity at any hour.

Needless to say though he is low, by cat-standards, in the pecking order, no doubt he’ll continue to rise in the popularity polls at our house. For now, Fuzz can still whip him but probably not for long. There’s always a neck to chew or a trash can to disperse across the floor...

Friday, December 02, 2005


This is Socks, aka the Wench. Not merely a wench, mind you; the Wench. Before describing this ill-tempered she-devil, let me speak my piece about cats in general, a sort of racial profiling for felines. Male house cats, as opposed to the semi-feral beasts who distribute garbage up and down your front lawn on trash days (for those foolish enough to leave food trash outside of a container), and who drag small children away in the night, are generally well-behaved. By well-behaved I mean a simpleton who sits in your lap, occasionally eats leftovers off dirty plates, and meows pitifully when wanting to go outside. She cats are different, and give truth to old adage that the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

There are two categories of female cats; the wench and the idiotic sweet. The idiotic sweet is usually a petite cat, loves people, is hated by other cats, runs from her own shadow, and divides her time between running another cats or hiding from other cats. They look perpetually guilty, which they are, since they're always breaking things in an attempt to avoid other cats or any noise louder than a pindrop. The wench, on the other hand, doesn't like anyone. She is often a mid-size to large beast, distains larger males, tries to eat kittens, and hisses. Constantly. Sure, she feigns affection for humans, but this is merely a ruse. She acts as though she is the real center of the universe, hates all other cats, is generally hated by all other cats, and acts paradoxically around people. These creatures, as recently described in the movie Constantine, really are halfway in hell and halfway on earth.

Socks has been with us since she was very small and why we decided to keep her is still a mystery of Providence. She is about 5 years old, so she's not old and cantankerous yet, but she despises the younger cats energy, especially at 11:45pm or 4:45am, when suddenly the feline NASCAR season opens. She is famous in our house for being indecisive when going outside. For example, she will sit at the front door and whine to go outside. You let her outside. 1.7 minutes later, she's at the backdoor, scratching the glass to get in. What gives? Or, my personal favorite, she'll paw the back glass door and after being let in, she will promptly sit at the front door until let back outside. Lazy animal won't walk around the house but expects me to be a doorkeeper. Who is more stupid I don’t know. Rainy and cold days are especially humorous and she will go outside and immediately realize what a dumb decision that was. Michelle and the kids will let her back in; I am the mean one and won't. Of course, nice people wouldn't write blogs like this.

Socks is the house huntress; she is the bearer of headless rodents and leaves bird carcasses strewn about the yard. She is really quite skilled and I understand why male lions let the lioness do that job. A male would settle in for the patient wait of their prey and simply fall asleep. Anyway, it was not always such. An incident very early in her career should suffice to explain. She couldn't have more than a year old and ran outside into the front lawn. Now previous to this, for at least 5 minutes, I had been watching an old female cat we had, Bonzee, quietly stalking a squirrel. She patiently and cautiously alternated beween slow forward motion and statuesque stillness, slowly inching toward the unsuspecting rodent. Bonzee was also a good hunter and surely that squirrel would have been meal fit for regurgitation on top of my car (yes, one of our cats unloaded across the entire top of my car after a meal of…of something). But poor Bonzee; no rodent puking that day. Socks took one glance at the squirrel and ran head long towards it like a bull charging a fighter. The squirrel easily avoided her and made fun of the silly cat from the branches of the tree in his chattering fashion. Needless to say Bonzee looked at Socks with a cool disdain, but she has since learned the art of hunting and the giving of dead white elephant gifts.

She is also a cover-hog. Most of our cats have a favorite bed, couch, or location whereby they can get comfortable and leave dander on. Socks is no exception; hers is our bed. She is very possessive as she will hiss and growl at the other cats who like to be under the bed. But the bed in general would not be accurate description. Much more to the point, she likes sleeping in between Michelle and I. This is akin to putting several college-level anatomy books in the middle of your bed, and seeing what happens when you try and turn over. Because the fat lard just sits there, the covers are held in place and ride up the edges, letting in all that cold air underneath, which kind of defeats the purpose of being covered in the first place. When you pull the covers towards the edge of the bed and yourself, it lifts her up a bit, though not much because of her size. And naturally it doesn't last because gravity must be allowed to work. The long-short of it is that every time I want to be comfortable in my own bed, by simply rolling over or covering up, she hisses and growls at me for disturbing her. I'm in the habit of throwing her off the bed, but she just returns and we start the process over again. Sometimes it's not between us, but at my feet and the same thing happens. She hisses and growls at me for moving my feet. How dare I.

Socks is one of the few cats in the house that I truly loathe. She is rotten, selfish, and will probably be annoying until her end. Just like a wart that won't go away and cutting it off will bleed too much. So you deal with it. In the meantime, if anyone needs a good rodent killer who likes to steal covers, let me know. I've got a bargin for you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Still here

Just a quick note...I'm still here and the cats are annoying as ever. But work has taken a higher priority and so I can't really do much here at the moment.

Don't worry...more horror stories to come.

In the meantime, see what my beer has to endure...

Monday, November 07, 2005

And then there were eight

Amidst my raging, all in a tone of humor to the uninformed reader, our cat population has diminished by one. Tubby, the reluctant patriarch, is gone. He had been sick for several weeks, losing weight and refusing food. I could tell he was ill simply because he refused to move from Seth's bed for days at a time. After disappearing for about a week, we figured he went somewhere to die but to our surprise, turned up over the weekend, but with no change. Perhaps leaving without saying goodbye would have been easier, but certainly not a comfort that only a cat-owner knows when he puts one of his beasts down. I've done this several times and despite the tone of this blog, it was never easy.

Almost 11 years ago, Tubby, along with the rest of his litter, had been hand-fed by Michelle when their mother was mauled, they being only 3 weeks old at the time. As the kittens were given away, and a few ran away, Tubby became Michelle's cat by virtue of the fact she really had literally raised him, the mother instinct co-mingled with the owner mentality. Joyous when the animal healthy and obnoxious, and grievous when lost and gone. There is no resurrection for the animal world, something that only God's image bearer is deigned to have, and that only glorious for the elect. Such is the kind of grace bestowed on man alone. Yet the memory of these animals belongs to us, part and parcel of this fallen world, a reminder I think of two things.

First off, it is Adam's sin (and ours by default) that brought death into the world. If we would rage against death, we must rage at our own sinfulness, humbly acknowledging that the world can be a sad place only because of us. But second and more importantly, as we condescend to raise and maintain these beasts (Scripture says the righteous man takes care of his animals), we must remember the grace that God has bestowed on us, especially in the work and person of Jesus, who died to redeem us from sin and death. If God can condescend to a fragile and lost creature such as man, surely we can pity and care for the animals, whom were cursed on account of us through no fault of their own. Where no such empathy exists, do we understand grace at all?

I say this by way of explanation; Tubby is gone. He has no soul, no memory and his body, which will be buried under the fern in the front flower bed, will return to the earth. He will not remember me, but I will remember him. I think he would have liked that idea, which is why he came home to die and not under some stranger's porch.

Farewell, my old friend.